Education at Large: 1945-1965

I asked my father what he was doing during the Hock Lee Bus riots, he said, “I was watching from the sidelines, too chicken to participate, I wasn’t brave like them”. Them being students from Chinese schools. What was it about those English medium schools that bred folks like him.

A Forum in Mandarin and English – Presented by THE TANGENT
“The aftermath of the World War II witnessed in Asia a surge in national consciousness and the desire for decolonisation. Despite being confronted with the laborious tasks of tackling poverty and the rebuilding of economy and society, Singapore exhibited remarkable cultural, intellectual and political vibrancy. How did it feel like to be a student in this age characterised by both great uncertainty and hope? What were students preoccupied with then? What were their general concerns and interests? How did they respond to major social and political developments? Did students engage in “star-gazing” then? Where were their favourite haunts? Find out more from our two speakers who have lived through that tumultuous but exciting era.
Koh Tai Ann (Professor, Division of English, Nanyang Technological University)
Han Tan Juan (History Researcher/ Retired Journalist)
3rd February 2007, Saturday 2.00 – 5.00 pm, FREE
The Pod, Level 16, Lee Kong Chian Reference Library
National Library Board, 100 Victoria Street, Singapore 188064

Yes, these recent posts are tangentially related to Invisible City

Art and Art Activities in Post-war Singapore

“The 1950s and 60s were not just post-war decades for Singapore, but also marked a time of transition from colony to independent nation-state. How were artists from this period responding to changes and developments in society around them? How was art practised and why was there a need and purpose for the formation of art societies? Come hear from a wide range of scholars as well as accounts from artists themselves on art-making during these significant years in this forum and learn about the history of art societies and interesting aspects of Singapore’s artistic heritage.” LINK

Starting Anew: Art and Art Activities in Post-war Singapore. 27 Jan (Sat), 9.30am – 5.15pm, SAM Auditorium. Free. In English and Mandarin.
How indeed do artists respond to upheavals, major or minor?

rain dogs (????opens tomorrow

rain dogs poster.jpgI have been following Ho Yuhang’s career from across the causeway ever since I saw his first feature Min in 2002 at SIFF. Min, a bare bones DV feature is a quiet film about a Malay bred young woman’s search for her Chinese biological mother. It was an assured first feature and I wondered what he could produce with more resources. Two years ago, Hong Kong company Focus Films, also the sales agent for Singapore GaGa, produced his third feature Rain Dogs. I saw it at Pusan International Film Festival in a cramped video booth and I am still in admiration. Book now, am afraid that it will disappear from GV cinemas without a blip. Rise of Malaysian Chinese Cinema

Hoi Polloi #1

Image033.jpgaxe brand logo.jpg

Axe Brand Medicated Oil is as as homey as a pair rubber flip flops. It is something one always has at home and it is used for everything from headaches to muscle pains. It is made by Singapore’s oldest family-run pharmaceutical company founded in 1928. Quite by chance, I sat next to its Managing Director, the son of the founder, Mr Leong Mun Sum. Top 5 questions for Mr Axe Brand Oil.

1 Any new products from Axe Brand?
We are introducing an inhaler, it is going to more powerful than any inhaler you have ever had. We are going to advertise it on buses. We find bus ads most helpful. People say that after they see the bus ads, they feel they have a headache where none existed before.

2 What is the most difficult part of the production process
Squirting the oil into the bottle, the hole is very small, (he whips out his bottle to show me) we have to use special machines to put the oil in, our rate is 100bottles/min.

3 Are you competitors with Tiger Balm?
We are in the medicated oil business, they in the balm business, its very different. We are good friends and respect each other

4 How do you find new markets
We export to more than 50 countries, We are very big in Sri Lanka and just got a distributor in Romania. My nephew is now in Morocco on a trade mission with Sr Minister Goh Chok Tong to find a Moroccan distributor. That is how we got our order from Romania too, through trade missions, very helpful.

5 Are your sons in the business?
No, but my two nephews are, one is looking after the Vietnam factory, one the China Factory. We have five factories in Asia, one is in my father’s home town Shunde, Guangzhou, China

Survivors’ Photo

Juke (Aditya Assarat), a Thai filmmaker completed shooting his film. He sent this photo commemorating the end of an arduous journey with a note “We wrapped production on “Wonderful Town” on December 9 @ 5.45pm. Thank you for your guidance and support” I could sense the relief in his voice and the relaxed photo says it all
Picture 2 juke.jpg

The Fly by Night Video Challenge ended with 45 videos completed in one weekend. Every year, at the end of the event, after prizes are awarded, we always take a survivors’ photo too. Ours looks like this. The look of exhaustion, relief, joy, regret?
Picture 2.jpg

Haolun’s Nostalgia

I met Shu Haolun ??? a few years ago with a group of other filmmakers in Jakarta. He showed us his film. It begins with a shot of a group of oldies playing majong in an old house in Shanghai then there is a slow pan to a young man sleeping on the sofa, spectacles askew in deep sleep amidst the din. The shot is held for a long time then the titles come up “An Afternoon at Grandma’s”. That was it. It was literally Haolun’s afternoon at Grandma’s. We burst out laughing. This year, that same house and those on that street are going to be torn down so he made another documentary about that house. The film is called Nostalgia????and it premiered in Shanghai earlier this year. Good luck Haolun! View trailer here

Days of Being wild

Ha! Not the movie, but a book about a shadow dance of another sort, about the Singapore 2006 General Election by Dana Lam. S$23 at Kinokunya, Select and Books Actually, the holy trinity of indie book publishers. Films can’t be made on this topic but books can be written about it.
“Over 100 photographs taken by Singaporeans during the 2006 General Election. All-you-want-to-know about Singapore general elections past and present. ”

“a remarkable act of service to our understanding of the struggles of opposition political parties, their political process and their perseverance in and commitment to offering Singaporeans alternative views and choices”
— Ms Constance Singam”